Best Lanikai Ukulele Review – Top Rated Models with Buying Guide
This article will help you find the best Lanikai ukulele, especially if you’re in a hurry and you’re tired of browsing through all the complex Lanikai ukulele reviews out there. Keeping it simple, we tried to present to you the brand’s best offers and in order to do that, we analyzed each model and the value that they offer. Having this in mind, we concluded that the Lanikai Concert Ukulele is the top pick for 3 main reasons. It is one of the most beautiful ukes that you can find on the market. Furthermore, it has great quality hardware, including open-back tuners that do an excellent job and look good. It also comes with electronic components to allow you to plug it in if you wish. If you’re unable to find our first recommended uke, try to look for the Lanikai Ukulele (ACST) model which is second on our top list.
Our Top Choice
The colorful body and the patterns on it are beautiful and you will be pleased anytime you play it. This ukulele comes with open-back tuners that are great at doing their job and also complementing the look of the instrument.
You might need to check the neck. It’s possible that it isn’t straight and it might need adjustments.
This is a beautiful instrument no matter the angle you’re looking at it. It is so versatile, and because it can be played both dry and plugged in it is useful in any situation, on and off the stage.
If looks are what you’re after, you will be pleased with the design of this instrument and the acacia top. The tuners do a great job of keeping the instrument in tune, and the neck is wide so you can hold it comfortably.
The strings are not the best and you should consider replacing them with others.
Giving a warm tone that is full of volume, this instrument will be great for live shows where you want to capture the audience. Deluxe component and a sturdy body make this instrument a quality one.
This ukulele is really easy to play, particularly due to the wide neck and nut. You will enjoy this instrument for many years and that is thanks to the durability it has. It also sounds great, whether you strum it or fingerpick it.
It doesn’t have any electronic components and you can’t plug it in to pump up the volume.
No matter the type of player you are, you will like the versatility of this instrument and how well it handles. Lightweight thanks to the high-quality components, this uke can be held and played by kids too.
10 Best Lanikai Ukuleles (Updated Reviews) in 2020
Lanikai is known for creating quality ukuleles that are suitable for all kinds of players. When looking at a Lanikai ukulele there are certain characteristics that are always observable. But there are some others that make the difference. We focused on those differences and here is how we created the following top of awesome Lanikai ukes.
- 1. Lanikai Concert Ukulele (QMBLCEC)
- 2. Lanikai Ukulele (ACST)
- 3. Lanikai Ukulele (MAC)
- 4. Lanikai LU-11 Soprano Ukulele
- 5. Lanikai Tenor Ukulele (QMBLCET)
- 6. Lanikai Ukulele (MAS)
- 7. Lanikai Ukulele (MAT)
- 8. Lanikai MA-B Ukulele Bundle
- 9. Lanikai Concert Ukulele CDST-C
- 10. Lanikai Ukulele (FBCETT)
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Lanikai Concert Ukulele (QMBLCEC)
Made using exquisite materials, this ukulele will catch the eye and will help you showcase your skills. It has a gorgeous cutaway body, and it is part of the Sand & Surf series that the brand is famous for. The instrument is an electro-acoustic one, meaning that it has the functionality of a classic ukulele and also offers the possibility to plug it into an amp.
The body is made of quilted maple, and it comes with a gloss finish over it. Featuring the brand’s classic NuBone nut and saddle, and Grover 97 tuners, it is a classic piece. It comes with everything you would ever need, from the Fisherman Kula onboard preamp that has 3 bands of EQ, to a digital chromatic tuner.
To make it easier to play the instrument has a comfortable neck profile that comes with player-friendly nut. Whether the instrument is plugged or not, the tone is a mellow and pleasant one.
In terms of looks, it’s an outstanding instrument and it is a pleasure looking at its colorful body and playing it.
It comes with strap buttons that are chromed – they look great and are also tested to the best safety standards.
Unlike other ukes, this one comes with a wide-profile neck to help players have a better grip and play it with more comfort.
Great tonality is offered by the NuBone XB nut and saddle which also help with a great sustain.
The tuners are open back and of great quality and they are designed for great accuracy and for keeping the headstock light so that the player can hold the uke more comfortably.
It has a great feel to it and the electrical parts do a great job.
The neck is not the straightest in the world and you might need to take it to a professional to straighten it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($328)
2. Lanikai Ukulele (ACST)
The ACST model from Lanikai is made of solid acacia and is designed to give you the well-balanced tone that you are looking for. The sound of this instrument is a warm one capable of capturing the audience. It also has great sustain thanks to the brand’s NuBone XB nut and saddle. What also gives the great sound is the fact that this instrument comes with quality D’Addario strings.
Coming with deluxe Grover chromed open-back tuners, the uke has the tunning accuracy required and it also has a light headstock to confer the comfort a player wants. The wide neck profile also contributes to this comfort.
The strap buttons are standard and chromed and they are tested to provide the utmost safety while still allowing the player to move freely around them. This model comes with a case that has a foam inside to keep the instrument safe.
The acacia top complemented by the maple finishing touches gives this ukulele a great look.
Thanks to the quality wood it is made of it will give out enough sound volume when played, whether you pluck the strings or you strum them.
Its tuners do an excellent job of keeping the instrument in great shape and capable of delivering constantly good and accurate sounds.
It comes with the advantage of a comfortable wide neck that will be easy to hold by any kind of player.
If you prefer putting a strap on it and holding it around your neck, the strap buttons won’t disappoint you as they are really solid.
Only the top is made of solid acacia, while the rest of the body is made of laminated wood. Don’t be fooled about that.
It feels like the sound struggles to resonate when played and that can be caused by the strings.Buy from Amazon.com for ($279)
3. Lanikai Ukulele (MAC)
Coming with all the needed features that Lanikai has got us used to, this concert ukulele is a great choice for any kind of player. It has the classic chromed open-back tuners that offer great tuning accuracy and keep the headstock light to ensure the player has a comfortable playing experience.
Furthermore, it comes with the Nubone XB nut and saddle that are so great for offering sustain and a tone that you will love. The wide neck profile and nut are so useful for those players that need a bit more room for their fingers. Let’s not forget about the chromed strap buttons that are so sturdy, look great and they offer good safety to ensure the strap doesn’t just fall off.
The fingerboard and bridge are made of walnut, a type of wood known for its beautiful shapes and colors. D’Addario EJ88 strings should offer you the tone and reliability you would expect from an instrument like this.
It comes with a durable gig bag that will help you carry it as a backpack, or simply by holding it in your hand.
This is an instrument that is easy to play. That is especially due to the wide neck and nut which make it comfortable to hold.
Given its dimensions and the small weight, this model is suitable for all ages and all kinds of players, from experienced to beginners.
This is an instrument that can offer you a lot, from a great tonality to great durability. You will be playing it for years to come.
The action is a smooth one and it will make playing the uke a joy.
It doesn’t come with any electronics, and as a result, you can only play it dry.
Experienced players will not like the fret fuzz. It’s something subtle but you can still hear it and you might have to adjust the bridge height.Buy from Amazon.com for ($119)
4. Lanikai LU-11 Soprano Ukulele
Constructed to serve beginners, this Lanikai soprano ukulele is great for those players that want to get started in the music world. It is a beautifully handcrafted model and it has been created using Nato wood (Eastern Mahogany). All the faces are made using this wood, as it brings out a crisp and rich sound, much like you would want from a traditional instrument like this.
The ukulele is easy to play and it also includes a booklet written by a professional. From that booklet, you can learn how to play it in minutes. Being one of the most popular models of the brand, this uke will give you the feel of the ocean meeting the heavens.
It puts out a classic, sweet island sound, and it’s great for first-time players and those that play multiple instruments and want to take on the ukulele next. It has 12 frets and those are enough for a beginner.
It is an instrument so simple to use. You just place it on your lap and you can start playing it.
Given the soprano size, it is a great choice for beginners or kids, but it is also something to be picked up by guitarists or those that love to play many instruments.
The nato wood gives it the classic tone you want from a soprano uke, and it is also strong enough to withstand small bumps.
There are 12 frets on this uke’s fretboard, and the scale length is 14 inches, which is great for such a small instrument.
Its nylon strings are smooth and give you a good feel when playing them.
The tuners are not chromed and for some, that might ruin the look. Furthermore, they seem not to hold the tuning that well.
It’s still a tiny instrument and if your hands are big you won’t be able to play it.Click to see the price on Amazon!
5. Lanikai Tenor Ukulele (QMBLCET)
Made using quilted maple, this ukulele from Lanikai will give you the dynamic sound and the experience of a lifetime when playing it. For a better comfort when playing it, the instrument comes with a wider nut and neck. Furthermore, the wood selected in making it is only the best.
The tuners used for this model are Grover open-back, and they are suitable for keeping the instrument in tune for a long time. The ABS body binding is multi-ply meaning that it’s pretty strong. Of course, like many other models from the brand, this one also comes with the NuBone XB nut and saddle, which give increased performance.
Let’s not forget that this model is an electro-acoustic one and the electronic components are great, especially the preamp. The ukulele also has a cutaway shape to allow players an easier and more comfortable access to the frets higher up the fretboard.
The chromed open back tuners are something that gives this instrument a great look and they are also efficient in keeping a good tonality for a prolonged time.
As you might expect, the professional NuBone XB nut and the saddle will offer you improved performance, and a stable tone.
Because it’s a model that can be played dry and plugged in as well, it offers much-needed versatility, especially for professionals.
Speaking about professionals, the cutaway body shape is great for those that tend to play a lot with the higher frets, as it allows better access to them.
The ukulele comes with a much-needed gig bag that is strong, keeps its shape, and protects the instrument.
The strings have a small buzz to them and you might need to change them or even modify the bridge.
Check the neck if it’s perfectly straight because you might have an unpleasant surprise.Buy from Amazon.com for ($389)
6. Lanikai Ukulele (MAS)
If you want a mahogany instrument capable of projecting great sound volume, this ukulele is for you. This type of wood is a standard in the industry because it gives the traditional look most players are searching for, and it also helps in conferring the pleasant warm tone you want from the uke.
The design is a simple one with a brown finish but it’s complemented nicely by the white nylon strings. Furthermore, the chromed tuners give the impression of sturdiness, they look good, and they also do a good job. The strap buttons are also chromed and
This ukulele comes with a wider nut and neck for comfortable playing experience. The NuBone XB nut and saddle are some other pieces that confer it a good tone and sound stability. It comes with a padded gig bag, which is a nice addition. The D’Addario strings are a decent choice but you can change them.
If you want an instrument capable of delivering smooth action for every player, this is the one to get.
For the best sustain and tone, the NuBone XB nut and saddle are specially made to help the player with that.
The neck profile is a wide one, along with the nut, and that increases playability, making the instrument a comfortable one to hold and strum.
The strap buttons are strong and are the standard in the industry for safety and comfort.
If a traditional look is what you are looking for, the mahogany that this ukulele is made of will please you.
You also get a padded gig bag to keep your precious instrument safe from scratches and dents.
It’s a bit plain aesthetically and it doesn’t stand out.
The strings are decent but they buzz sometimes so you might consider changing them.Buy from Amazon.com for ($98.98)
7. Lanikai Ukulele (MAT)
Made of solid wood, this ukulele is designed to create the sound volume one needs to fill a big room. As the case is with many other models from the brand, this one also comes with a wider neck and nut, to allow the player to have a better grip on the instrument and thus play more comfortably.
Being a solid mahogany construction, the body of this instrument helps in giving out a rich and warm tone that has increased projection and sustain. The uke comes with good quality open-back tuners that are chromed. They look great and they do a good job of keeping the instrument in tune. But watch out, as they stick out to the sides.
To get the maximum sustain possible and the best tone the NuBone XB nut and the saddle have been designed for that purpose. This whole instrument comes with a traditional pleasant look.
The instrument looks really neat and for those that like traditional looks, it is a pleasure to see and hold.
It has a full solid-body construction, meaning that the projection is extraordinary and the sound is a full and rich one.
The instrument comes with a wide neck and nut which makes it easier for the player to hold and use it.
The fretboard comes with marks that help the eye see where each fret is positioned.
It comes with chromed strap buttons that are a standard in the industry when it comes to safety and comfort.
The tuners are also chromed and they do a very good job.
For a tenor ukulele, the strings are a bit too weak and they break more often than they should. You might need to replace them.
The bridge height may need modifications as there is a significant distance between the strings and the fretboard.Buy from Amazon.com for ($129)
8. Lanikai MA-B Ukulele Bundle
If bundles are what you’re looking for, this offer from Lanikai is right up on your alley – it includes the big ukulele (a baritone one) and a smaller soprano uke. The big instrument is the MAB model and it is made entirely out of mahogany. This means it has great sound projection and the capability to sustain the sound with ease.
The strings are of good quality, both for the big and the small ukuleles, and they help each instrument give the sound expected from them. You have the big uke which is a lot more powerful and has a warmer, deeper tone, but you can also use the small ukulele which will have a higher pitch.
If you’re a family looking for some diversity in your house, or an instrument for everybody, this bundle is great for you. Furthermore, both of these come with a deluxe gig bag included and a cloth that you can use to wipe them and keep them in pristine shape.
You get two instruments in the same packaged and they complement each other so well.
You have the versatility needed to fulfill all kinds of roles when playing. You can even play these two instruments as a duo.
The small ukulele comes with electronic capabilities and that means you can plug it in to get the extra volume it needs.
You will be pleased with how strong the body of the big uke is, taking into account the mahogany construction.
They both look great and they can be played by anybody.
Coming with quality open-back tuners, these ukuleles will keep the tonality for a long time.
The small ukulele is constructed of laminated wood that is not perfectly assembled, so it feels a bit like a toy.
The bridge of the small uke is made of plastic and it’s possible that it will not hold well in the long run.Click to see the price on Amazon!
9. Lanikai Concert Ukulele CDST-C
Looking for a ukulele with good acoustics? Look no further than this one, which comes with a solid cedar top that will give the resonance you wish every instrument had. The body is constructed using laminated mahogany but it still has the resistance needed. Furthermore, the combination of colors between the two of them looks great.
The fingerboard is made of walnut, which is known for its beautiful shapes and resistance. As you might know, Lanikai ukuleles are great because they come with wide necks and nuts which make them more comfortable to hold and play.
What’s more, the Nubone XB nut and saddle will help the instrument give out a steady tone and will provide better sustain.
The solid cedar top will give this instrument the resonance every player expects from a ukulele like this.
Its laminated mahogany body will offer it the resistance needed.
There is a nice combo that the top and sides make in terms of colors, and this catches the eye.
You will have good sustain and a better tone with this instrument thanks to the brand’s performant saddle and nut.
Usually, ukuleles are more difficult to play by those with bigger hands, however, this model from Lanikai comes with a wider neck which facilitates playability, especially if you have long fingers.
Taking into account that the fingerboard is made of walnut wood, it is important to mention how smooth this material is for the fingers, and this makes it a good choice for kids with soft hands.
This instrument comes with no electronics and that means you can only play it dry.Buy from Amazon.com for ($169)
10. Lanikai Ukulele (FBCETT)
If you want a beautiful looking ukulele that will have your attention from the first sight, this is the one for you. It is constructed using figured Bocote, which is a type of wood that has some striking patterns on it, it’s highly decorated and it has smooth dark grain stripes. Thanks to this same wood the tone of the instrument is well-rounded and has great projection.
The looks are enhanced by the quality open back chromed tuners which are known for their tuning accuracy and the fact that they make the headstock so light so the player can hold the instrument with ease. For maximum sustain and the best possible tone, the ukulele comes with the brand’s NuBone XB nut and saddle.
This Lanikai ukulele review has to mention the fact that this uke is so easy to hold thanks to the wide neck profile that is extra comfortable. Furthermore, even the chromed strap buttons are a standard for comfort and safety.
The cutaway body shape is ideal for those professionals that like to spend more time playing on the upper frets.
It comes with electronic components and that means you can use it dry or you can plug it in for more volume and even effects.
The figured Bocote wood gives it great projection, but it also looks so good.
The tuners that this instrument comes with are of good quality and they complement the neat design. They are also lightweight and help with comfort.
It is a comfortable instrument to use thanks to the wide neck profile which helps those with bigger hands have a better grip on it.
If you want to hold it around your neck with a strap you can fully trust the chromed strap buttons for that.
This ukulele has a thin body, and although that can make it more comfortable to hold, it also means it will not project the sound as well.Buy from Amazon.com for ($373.52)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
The great thing about these instruments is that you can always find an affordable Lanikai ukulele that does a good job. However, whether you’re buying a Lanikai or any other uke, there are some things that you need to consider. Here they are.
Nowadays there are 4 types of ukuleles, but when it all started, the original uke was the soprano. It is now the smallest of the 4 types, and it usually has a small scale length of 13 inches, and an overall length of 21 inches. This is why it’s an ideal instrument for kids. Because it’s the classic one, we usually associate its bright sound with how a ukulele should sound.
A bit larger than the soprano is the concert ukulele. These models should have a scale of about 15 inches, with an overall length of about 23 inches. As you can see, there isn’t much difference between soprano and concert, but it’s still something. Because they are pretty similar, the concert ukulele gives out a sound that is similar to the soprano.
What comes next in terms of size is the tenor uke. One of these has a scale length of 17 inches and a total length of 26 inches or so. It has a deeper tone, and the fact that the fingerboard is bigger means it can be played by those with bigger hands. Kids might struggle a bit at first with this kind of uke.
Having a scale length of 19 inches and a total length of 30 inches, the baritone ukulele is the heavyweight champion in the ukulele world. It is the biggest of them all and it also delivers the most volume, as well as some really bassy sounds. Although only having 4 strings, it is not tuned like the 3 other types of ukuleles, but like a guitar.
This is why the baritone uke can be a good stepping stone for those that look to move from guitar to ukulele, or vice-versa.
Types of woods used
One of the most important, if not the only important thing when it comes to a ukulele is the type of wood it’s made of. The material a uke is constructed of will have a great impact on how the instrument will sound, and how it will perform in the long run.
If you’re looking for high-quality ukuleles, you should only consider those that are made using solid woods. Of course, affordable models will be made of laminated wood, and that can also work for some people. Laminated wood is made using several layers of thin wood glued together.
There are some cases in which the sides and back of the instrument are made using laminated wood while the top is made of solid wood. This is done because the top has a great influence on the tone, and as a result, it needs to be of good quality.
Positives and negatives can be taken into consideration for both laminates and solid woods. Laminated wood isn’t as resonant as solid wood, but it is stronger and less susceptible to damage, splitting, or cracking. This is often an issue in dry climates or when it’s too cold.
On the other hand, solid wood can be physically stronger against bumps, and the wood will “age well”, meaning that with time it will give a better sound to the instrument.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Where are Lanikai ukuleles manufactured?
The brand’s origins trackback to Hawaii. The company has its headquarters on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. On the same island, there is a beach named the same, Lanikai, so you can imagine where the name started from.
The motto of the company is “Makes me happy”, so you know what these instruments are all about – helping the people playing them to feel more passion and happiness. These ukuleles are handmade there, although there are some that say that the cheap Lanikai ukulele series they sell is actually made in China.
Lanikai sells ukuleles for all kinds of people. They build cheap entry-level ukes for those that just want to get started playing, but they also have some expensive and performant top edge ukuleles for professionals. Of course, their most popular products are the cheaper ones, and as a result, they are known as a brand that builds quality instruments for beginners.
Q: Is Lanikai a good ukulele brand?
Lanikai is a good manufacturer of ukuleles, especially if you are looking at their low-priced segment. They offer anything a player would want. You can find a Lanikai ukulele made of natural solid wood, but you also have some constructed using plywood or a mix of both. Furthermore, you can find hybrid models, sometimes a mix between a ukulele and a banjo.
Lanikai also offers a lot of accessories, and they can provide you with anything from gig bags to strings and cloth to clean your instrument. But Lanikai also does decent when it comes to higher-end models, as it offers some exotic models made of premium tonewood. Given that the brand is located in Hawaii, they have easier access to the wood from there, which is known for its capabilities when used in making ukuleles.
You will find that Lanikai produces instruments in named series and amongst these series, the LU one is a really good one for beginners.
Q: How do you clean a ukulele?
The best way to keep the ukulele clean is to actually don’t let dirt or grime accumulate. You need to take proactive action after each playing session. Because your hands are usually dirtier than the uke, you will be leaving something on it, and to prevent that, after each session wipe the strings with a soft cotton cloth.
If you feel that the fretboard is too dirty, get the strings off and clean the fretboard with soft 0000 steel wool. This should restore the frets to their shiny state. For a better cleaning process proceed by wiping the surface of the fretboard with lemon oil or mineral oil. Repeat the process until you are pleased with the results.
For those with glossy ukuleles, make sure to clean them only with 100% cotton cloth and high-quality guitar polish. On every polish bottle, there should be instructions on how to use it, so make sure to follow the steps.